Romeo And Juliet Help!

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Report Thread starter 7 years ago
I am going to be doing a CA in English Language, luckily not till February, but I am watching the films and I have a hard time understanding who is who and what is actually happening...

My question for the CA is ' How does Shakespeare present and develop tension in Verona in Romeo and Juliet'

I would appreciate if someone could tell me the key parts in Romeo and Juliet AND how tension is developed in Verona.

Thank you
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Report 7 years ago
York notes for Romeo and Julliet really picks it apart and describes all of it very well!
Jacob Boris
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Report 7 years ago
I can't summarise the whole play, as my copy of the book is at home, while I'm here at Uni, but I can give a pretty good attempt.
The basic premise is two noble families: the Montagues (Romeo is their son) and Capulets (Juliet is their daughter) have rivalry over which is better which neither can remember the reason for, it is just tradition. This rivalry causes most of the tension in Verona, with the Prince stepping in in Act 1 Scene 1 to prevent any more fighting. Romeo gets with Juliet secretly (including marriage). He then kills Tybalt, for killing Mercutio and has to leave Verona, at this point Juliet is being forced to marry Paris by her father, however with the help of Friar Laurance (a monk who married her and romeo) she fakes her own death with a potion and is buried, after sending a letter to romeo saying they can run away together: Romeo never receives the letter, and upon his return he finds Juliet apparently dead, he then drinks poison and dies and Juliet awakes to see him die, there isn't enough poison for her so she impales herself on Romeo's dagger ('Oh happy dagger...) and also dies. The two families come together and decide that their quarrel should end and bemoan the fact it took the death of their respective children to realise this, and then the play ends with the lines 'Never was there a story of more woe/ than of Juliet and her sweet Romeo'.
Your most important scenes are going to be those with conflict between Montagues and Capulets, such as Act 1: Scene i, which starts with a build up of tension between the two factions (the whole 'Do you bite your thumb at me, sir?'/ 'I bite my thumb, but not at you' etc.) thus we here see the tension between the two parties building from pretty much the outset. As said prior the Prince then bans all fighting in Verona, with the next person to break the peace to be forfeit (punished in some manner, I imagine executed though I can't quite remember).
After this Romeo goes to a party at the Capulet's house. Bearing in mind the two families hate each other, it is lucky it is a masked party, however Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) wants to fight him and kick him out (or perhaps kill him, its uncertain), it is only Juliet's father (Lord Capulet) that stops him. Romeo then meets Juliet and they instantly fall in love. Juliet finds out that he's a montague from her nurse and bemoans this on the balcony: 'Romeo, oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo' meaning in plain English why must he be a Montague? Thus tension and conflict of interests. They are then married the next day.
Romeo and Mercutio and Benvolio are out and about and they meet Tybalt who is stilled pissed off at Romeo much tension is built in the word play and then Mercutio fights him, Romeo tries to step between them and this causes Mercution to be stabbed, his dying speech creates tension: 'a plague, a plague on both your houses' and this also foreshadows Romeo and Juliet's deaths at the end of the play. Romeo then fights and kills Tybalt, which creates tension between him and the law, and also between him and Juliet for obvious reasons. Romeo then leaves and Friar Lawrence implements a plan. Fastforward somewhat and there is tension between Juliet and her father, as he wants to make her wedding to Paris the next day to take her mind off of things, she clearly doesn't want this, already being married, and then sends her nurse to Friar Lawrence... fastforward again, there is some conflict and tension between Paris and Romeo near the end of the play and Romeo kills him, because in shakespearean tragedies they tend to die alot, anyway he then kills himself and Juliet does herself in as explained at the beginning and the two families come together, which is quite tense, however it then dissipates.
Also look for stage directions that build tension and also other words and phrases, such as the word play about humours and boiling blood, and heat all of which are to do with the building of tension.

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